Wednesday, June 15, 2016

If I Say the Words

I read the reports, the interviews with parents and children and lovers left behind.  I read the texts scrabbled out from hiding places, pleas for rescue, call 911.  My skin pricks and shivers as if someone is touching me, but I am alone.  I tear up at random times, can’t bear to go out in public, see the world going on as if nothing happened, as if - because it didn’t happen here – it is still safe in a bubble of denial.  My wife and I pause as we pass each other going from one room to the other, lean our bodies together.  We say we are sad.  Shorthand for burned to the ground.  But I haven’t cried.  When I try to write, I can’t.  I am full of the rough material that make up words – emotion, nightmare, fear, grief – but the words themselves refuse to be born:  If I say the words, say the names, I admit that it really happened.  They - Mercedez, Franky, Akyra, Eddie, Angel, all of them in their glorious brown queer radiant bodies - really died, and they died in terror and agony, chased like animals by a man wielding an assault rifle with the nickname “Black Mamba,” a weapon never meant to hunt anything but human beings, which means it is a hate machine, created to shoot hatred from one person into the soft body of another.  If I say the words, if I try to corral the facts and tame them with language, I’ve already muted their screams, their whispered prayers, their frantic texts to a beloved mami or daddy who cannot save their child, who feel each cell in their body implode at the injustice.  If I say the words that attempt to respond to an act for which there is no sane response, what would those words be?  I think of the mother who was there with her son; think, how lucky she was.   She was able to do what so many parents not there wish they had been able to do: step in front of her child, face the shooter with her mother’s eyes, and shield her heart of hearts with the same body that gave birth to that boy.  That’s it.  That’s what I see, over and over again, that is what I cannot speak, what terrifies me with a power beyond steel transformed into anger: how blessed she was, and is, how she was there, dancing, because she already knew that choosing love would save her son’s life; knew that love, with its dance of blood and shattered bones, love with its twin red shoes named pain and sacrifice, love is the only commandment that matters.  Love: by any means necessary.  

Deborah A. Miranda 


  1. Beautiful. Thank you, Deborah. You always find the words.

  2. I can barely see the screen through my tears. Thank you for gifting us with your words. Ah, it hurts. My beloved queers.


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